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Gathering a horde of board games under their Bodgers line, Privateer Press unleashes: Zombies Keep Out.
ZKO is a cooperative game where 1-6 players take on the roles of the Bodgers in their workshop, furiously piecing together contraptions to defend against the ever shambling horde of zombies. The Bodgers need to complete 3 contraptions before the zombies overrun 3 of the 5 sections of their workshop.
Instead of me telling you how to play ZKO, Privateer Press has released an awesome video tutorial on how ZKO is played. Sit back and watch as Will Schick runs you through the mechanics of the game. Then join me below as I talk about my experiences playing ZKO.
2-Player Game: Mike Paschal & Chris Strecker
As you can imagine from the video, things can go downhill fast as the zombies quickly bunch up and overrun the Bodgers workshop. My first game with Chris in the PHD office, was a prime example of how things go awry unexpectedly. We grossly underestimated how powerful being able to trade cards with one another was. So when it came time to take a bite or add more zombies, neither of us batted an eye at taking a bite token from the deck of Terrible Things. Not being able to optimize our parts usage by trading and building contraptions, hindered our Bodging ability to quickly make contraptions.
We did manage to get a couple contraptions built and things were looking up as we were taking turns pushing the button, zapping Zombies from the board and groaning commands at each other. As we were focusing on removing zombies from the front lines, we were not paying attention to how the Zombies were going to shamble across the board. We quickly went from “HOORAY” to “Hoooormrmmmmm…brains”. Groups of Zombies we thought we were “safe” from, started merging causing a huge shoving surge smashing down our workshop door. Game over man, game over!
5-Player Game: Mike, Athena, Tad, Ben & Heather
This was going to be…interesting. I knew as soon as I explained how the Bite Tokens worked, Ben was going to be the wild card, as he immediately began practicing his zombie impressions and trying to bite Heather. Aside from the rules, I offered no advice or tips to everyone at the table. Let’s see if we survive the invasion or join Ben and his ranks of zombies.
The first few turns come and go and the deck of Terrible Things began to reveal it’s true form to everyone else at the table. From my previous game, I vividly remember the dark power emanating from within it’s red bordered walls of hate and turmoil. We did everything in our power to keep the zombies away from the workshop. Every row but the first row became bloated with zombies and our pool of zombies became less and less. Eventually, more options on the Terrible Things cards became impossible and the horde of zombies came crashing into every part of our workshop.
Then, it happened, Ben excitedly got a bite token. Heather, sensing the same worry I had about Ben and his inevitable betrayal, had the quote of the night. “I will leave you in a gutter.”, as Ben threatened to use a critical Parts card to Defend, instead of Tinker the last piece of a blueprint. In Ben, we lost one of our trading options but we were able to assign him to button pushing duty with the contraptions we had built. He was blasting 2 zombies every turn with our Boomflinger contraption and our other contraption, Crab Grapple, was helping us draw more Parts cards and removing zombies.
With Ben reluctantly removing and defending against his fellow zombie horde, the rest of us could steam ahead building contraptions. We managed to BARELY build all 3 contraptions and only had 9 barricades across the entire workshop at the end of the game. There were some tense moments towards the end as there was a VERY critical Terrible Thing card that was either the end of us or just barely the end of us. Clearly the latter was chosen and we lived to Bodge another day.
Final Thoughts on Zombies Keep Out:
*This game is fun, good honest fun. It’s not super complex and has scaling rules for an easier/family mode. Conversely, you can scale it up and really test you and your fellow Bodgers minds.
*Apparently I think zombies make drunk noises, as Ian pointed out when he came to check on my and Chris’ game and I kept reassuring Chris, “It’ll be allriiiiight…we gah dis”.
*I am a stickler for good game components. Such a fun and engaging game, I barely had a chance to appreciate the awesome zombie miniatures and solid artwork throughout ZKO.
*Sometimes, you just have to let zombies smash into your workshop. The more zombies you have on the board, the higher the chance of a Terrible Thing being impossible for you to complete, as your zombie pool is more limited.
*Privateer Press did something interesting with some of the contents. Included are exclusive, Zombie related, game cards to be used in their other Bodgers games: Heap, Bodger Mania and Infernal Contraption. The collector in me likes this.